Leading up to the trade deadline last year, I asked whether the Cleveland Browns should consider trading any of the following four players: LT Joe Thomas, C Alex Mack, OLB Barkevious Mingo, or OLB Paul Kruger.
I think the majority of Browns fans were panicking about the thought of Ray Farmer dealing Thomas, and Adam Schefter’s tweet just two minutes before the deadline about the Broncos trying to clear cap space didn’t help ease the anxiety. The trade didn’t go through, though, and Thomas remained a Brown. Flashforward one year later, and the only player remaining from those four players is Thomas. Mack left in free agency, Mingo was shipped to the Patriots during the preseason, and Kruger was cut during training camp.
On Monday, the Browns stunned the NFL when they became one of the biggest buyers at the deadline, acquiring Patriots all-around stud linebacker Jamie Collins for a conditional compensatory pick. Is anything else on the horizon? Let’s take a look at the possibilities.
The NFL trade deadline is today at 4:00 PM ET.
Amid media speculation that the Browns were seeking a second-round pick for LT Joe Thomas, head coach Hue Jackson made it clear that they are not looking to trade the future Hall of Famer:
“We are not going to trade Joe Thomas. Joe Thomas has a lot to do with what we are trying to accomplish here in our future.”
There are a lot of playoff contenders who are in need of a left tackle, including the Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals, and Indianapolis Colts. However, Pro Football Talk thinks that teams won’t be able to meet the compensation Cleveland is asking for. Some still feel that would be a second-round pick, but I think it’s still a first-round pick.
Here is why you don’t get rid of Thomas if you are the Browns: you still need some form of a stable player to allow the guys around him to thrive. Because of Thomas’ stability, the offensive line hasn’t completely fallen apart in 2016 like it otherwise could have, which allows us to see the running backs and wide receivers make some plays.
On the other side of the field, with the defense seldom having that cornerstone piece in place, what we’ve seen on the field has been an atrocity. A player like Collins could help stabilize that. Thomas is under contract through 2018. If he can keep that stability for the next two years while the club slowly improves to an average level of play, then you keep him.
The only consideration I would give to trading Thomas would be is if a team would be willing to trade us a proven defensive stud — similar to the Patriots gifting us Collins -- and Cleveland plans on signing that player long-term.
Joe Haden or Tramon Williams
This past Sunday, Joe Haden was on the field for nearly every snap, showing that he should be healthy again after having his second groin injury of the season.
Personally, I’d be fine with the team keeping Haden, who is under contract through 2019, but I’d understand it if they didn’t. His play has seen a significant drop off over the past two seasons, where he’s only played in 10 out of 24 games due to injury. The team might feel that he’s no longer worth his contract. That’s a situation where I’d try to get him to restructure his deal after the season, but if a team is willing to throw big-time compensation at the Browns, they should consider it.
The player who I’d be most willing to part ways with is veteran cornerback Tramon Williams, who is under contract through 2017. He’s not an essential veteran piece, and the club showed that when they started Jamar Taylor over him at the start of the season. Williams would not command much of anything in a trade, and it’s not too harmful for the Browns to hang on to him the rest of the year because cutting him next offseason would only be a $500,000 cap hit.
If the team was allowed to trade WR Josh Gordon, I think he’d already be gone. Reports have indicated that the team was trying to do so before his rehab stint, but that the latest setback lowered the value Cleveland was seeking.
Gordon is out of rehab now, but no one knows what his status is with the NFL. Will he still be re-instated? Would teams be willing to give anything up for a guy with so many questions surrounding him? Because of all the uncertainty, I’d be stunned if Gordon was dealt today. Per Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer, the Browns can trade the rights to Gordon’s contract while he’s suspended:
League spokesman Brian McCarthy told cleveland.com that a club can trade the contract of a player on indefinite suspension. He will, however, have to go through the reinstatement process spelled out in the NFL's substance abuse policy. It involves a formal application to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to let him back in the league.
Would You Trade Any of Them?
Is there anybody on the Browns’ roster who you would trade? Let us know in the comments section below!